YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, behind only Google. If that seems strange, that YouTube is a search engine and not a video platform, consider our preference for video as content. I might go to Google to find a website that sells a part I need for the lawnmower, but I’m going to search on YouTube for a video that shows me how to install the part. Or I might search Google for the movie times at my local theater, but I’m going to search for the movie trailer on YouTube so I can show it to my friend to convince her to go to the movie with me.
We prefer video in part because we can absorb information so much faster when it’s presented to us that way—and also because we want to be entertained, and YouTube definitely entertains! Whatever our reason for being on the website, however, one can’t dispute the popularity of video. YouTube has over 1.8 billion users per month. And this preference for video will only grow: Cisco predicts video viewing will account for 82 percent of all IP traffic by the year 2021.
That makes YouTube a marketing channel to consider, pardon the pun. But it’s kind of an indirect sort of marketing channel. Unlike with the television advertising of old, you’re not going to run ads on YouTube in the form of commercials (I hope). It’s a bit more subtle than that. And that means figuring out what works or doesn’t work when you’re creating videos to market your business.
How do you learn what works or doesn’t work? You look at the analytics.
YouTube offers plenty of analytics
Even for the beginner, YouTube offers a wealth of analytics that are easy to understand. With YouTube, you can get all kinds of data on the performance of your videos. You can get analytics for your channel as a whole, or for individual videos. You can look at data over a short period of time or longer, or even over the “lifetime” of your channel. From your analytics, you can discover:
- Watch time
- Average view duration
- How many people added your video to a playlist
- Estimated revenue
- Your top 10 videos
- The geographical location of viewers
- Traffic sources
- Playback locations
- The keywords people used to find your video
- The devices they’re on when watching your content
- …and more
Not all analytics are created equal, however, and some are more important to you than others as you get started with YouTube marketing. So before you get overwhelmed by the long list, hang on. We’re going to take a deeper look at six of these metrics and why they matter for those getting started with YouTube marketing.
1. Watch Time
You want to know how much time people have spent watching your videos, which means engaging with your content. That makes Watch Time a crucial metric for you. Views have some relevance as a metric too, but you really want to know how long viewers “stick around,” if you will. This helps you to learn which videos are the most engaging so you can do more of the same.
2. Audience Retention
Audience Retention will show you where people are dropping off when watching videos. Maybe your seven-minute video loses viewers at about the four-minute mark. And people watch the entirety of your two-minute videos. Keep that in mind for future videos. You’re learning what your audience prefers as far as length, and you want to meet them where they are: with videos in a length they prefer. If you have a preference for longer videos to get your message across but your audience is dropping off, telling you they want shorter videos, you can simply make two videos to cover the same topic.
3. Traffic Sources
Traffic Sources is another important metric because you need to know where your visitors are coming from. Are your ads working, to drive people to your videos? Is your content showing up in YouTube search? Are people sharing your videos? Are people seeing your videos because of Facebook? Is your video being recommended by YouTube? Knowing where your traffic comes from tells you if your strategy is working or not. It also helps you identify possible traffic sources you hadn’t considered, so you can tap into those as well.
Speaking of traffic, your YouTube analytics will tell you who is watching your videos via the Demographics. You can determine age, gender and geography. This information is useful for making sure you’re reaching your intended audience, or if you have an audience you hadn’t considered. If you’re trying to reach females who are 45 to 54 years old but your demographics are showing a younger audience, it might be you need to change your approach, or it might be that you have an audience you didn’t know about before.
5. Social Sharing
Social shares tell you how engaging your content really is. If people like it enough to share it, the quality must be high—at least in the eyes of the viewer. Watch these metrics to figure out what makes a share-worthy video. And if you’re not getting a lot of shares, try a different approach.
6. Likes and Dislikes
As with social shares, likes and dislikes give you information about what viewers think of your video content. Videos with more likes are videos that were well-received and you should consider doing more like those. As for dislikes, try not to take them personally. Remember, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. However, if a video has an inordinate amount of dislikes, you might want to re-evaluate it. Did you trick people into watching by promising content you didn’t deliver? Was the quality poor? Is there another reason why people are disliking it in large numbers? Is the video simply too long? As much as you don’t like the dislikes, you can learn valuable information from them, so do.
Master YouTube Analytics with Simplilearn
As you can tell from the long list above, YouTube offers plenty of data for you to work with to improve your YouTube marketing. Sure, you can start with our list of six important metrics, but what about the others? How can you quickly master those? You can earn YouTube and Video Marketing Certification. With this course, you’ll learn how to use video for marketing. You’ll learn how to establish a video marketing strategy, how to get your content noticed, and how to optimize your videos for mobile devices. Most importantly for our discussion here, you’ll learn how to measure your results.
Analytics is absolutely essential for effective marketing, no matter the channel you’re using. The key to analytics is learning how to use the information to make adjustments to your marketing strategy. This is as true of YouTube marketing as it is any other marketing method. And the sooner you learn to understand those analytics offered by the world’s second largest search engine, the better.